Glamour on demand.
Haifa Addas is the founder of UAE’s beauty booking app that benefits both vendors and clients. INSTAGLAM, which allows users to book the type of service they need within their budget needs and at their location of preference, was created as “a solution for salons [and freelancers] to reach more segments and increase their incomes.” Below, Addas explains her passion behind following her dream in inventing a product that conveniences users’ lifestyles on a day to day basis.
Our story began in 2016, when Haifa noticed there was a gap (or several!) in the beauty industry she was keen to address. She felt that the pioneering beauty brands, the talented professionals and the diverse population of the UAE needed a platform to connect and create opportunities and lasting partnerships.
We at INSTAGLAM believe that while the demand for beauty is universal, what people define as beautiful differs greatly. Every woman is unique, so we aim to help her find her sense of style. We bridge the gap in the beauty industry – helping women look and feel beautiful by becoming their link to the glamour world in order to find that unique style.
INSTAGLAM’s story is slowly unfolding into the multi-faceted business it is today. Helping working mothers find time to do their nails, creating the perfect look for a hospitality group’s staff or simply training at one of our monthly workshop sessions.
1. Describe yourself as Founder of INSTAGLAM in one sentence.
Beauty is my passion, I love it and I am lucky to be surrounded by women who inspire me constantly.
2. Out of curiosity, why did you choose to start a virtual marketplace that bridges the gap between beauty professionals and customers, instead of starting your own physical salon?
There are so many salons around already with certain issues (like parking and not having enough customers) so we created a solution for salons to reach more segments and increase their incomes. Add to that, there are so many talented freelancers who have never had a platform to connect them with clients. Now, we can proudly say that we managed to empower them by creating the tools for flexible working hours, location and price point so they can share their talent with clients who want to feel good and be glammed up within budget and at the location of their choice.
3. Do you think home-based beauty care is the future?
In my experience when traveling around the world with beauty editors, we are always on the run and wanted someone to come to our hotel room to glam us up in the rushed hour we had.
In general, our orders have been increasing since “since the lockdown” because people feel safer having someone trained who takes all safety measures at their homes, instead of them going out and risking exposure.
4. Describe the type of customer who has benefitted most from your on-demand booking and home service. Further, has your target demographic shifted since COVID-19?
- Busy businesswomen, young women for their prom glam, brides, stay at home mothers
- Fashion shows and group/corporate events
- Luxury brands for all their beauty needs (be it a private viewing, shoot or a fashion show).
- Advertising & modeling agencies
- Beauty Editors (photoshoot)
- Existing businesses (salons) who can outsource their makeup and eyelash lift experts via INSTAGLAM
Last but not least, most recently since the Pandemic, we consider everyone a key customer, since we also just launched men grooming and body care.
5. In the beginning of COVID-19, people were avoiding beauty services for hygiene and safety reasons. How has this affected the business overall (if at all)?
During the lockdown in Dubai, no home service was allowed as per the UAE law. This was challenging for our business but either way, everyone was scared since they did not yet understand the virus. Even professionals did not want to risk their lives and go to customers houses.
We used this time to educate and share this knowledge with our customers and deliver more value via our weekly Instagram lives with celebrities and experts in the field of health, beauty and fashion. We also ran few master classes with international beauty brands.
6. What measures have you taken to assure your users that all your beauty professional partners are following official health and safety guidelines?
In the light of the recent developments, all INSTAGLAM professionals are certified with a Barbicide COVID-19 Certificate where they learn their legal responsibilities, and in depth about the transmission of the disease, how to follow specific hand hygiene and understand sanitization and sterilization.
7. What is the number one feature that your mobile users depend on for a smooth experience when using your app?
A. We are a reliable, secure and unique platform for users.
B. They trust our vetting system (everyone on the app is approved after a thorough process) and we have a rating program.
C. It is easy to use and safe for payment online, offering a wide variety of glamour services at different price ranges according to professional level, experience and services.
8. What is your top advice for entrepreneurs who are launching a new mobile application?
Believe in your dream. The road is full of ups and down, so believing in the business and yourself is crucial. Perseverance, perseverance, perseverance. Research very well before you launch something. When choosing a partner, be very selective. Surround yourself with people who share your vision, you are as good as your team. Validate your idea with paying customers (friends).
Pace yourself. Entrepreneurship is a 24/7 job. Managing your time and priorities correctly will set the pace. Balance is key. Be open to change. Every business has a period of trial and error, so being flexible is important. You will think about giving up many times. Walk away, get some rest and refocus. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to your community to plug in all the available resources. You can also find a mentor to help guide you.